A Message from the President to the
Penn State Community
The Board of Trustees and I want to reaffirm Penn State’s commitment to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. The University strongly encourages and supports all members of the Penn State community in the application of ethical standards contributing to the success of Penn State’s mission.
In recent years as the external regulatory environment has expanded and ethical issues have become more prevalent, it became apparent that it was time for a careful review of our existing policies and guidelines. In particular, three things were needed.
- It was important for the University to clearly state the expected standards for ethical behavior.
- A systematic review of the wide variety of conflicts of interest faced by the University and its members was needed to ensure that the appropriate policies and guidelines were available to help the Penn State community to monitor the potential for ethical conflicts and be alert to the need to seek guidance from campus experts.
- It is important to have this information easily accessible on one website.
A University-wide committee was charged to undertake this task and advise us on these matters. The work of the University Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy Committee resulted in the creation of this website and guided the content of the site.
The purpose of the policies and guidelines on ethical behavior is to provide advice and guidance about our expectations as an institution and the ethical and legal standards which guide our decision-making. Our objectives are to prevent unethical behavior and to prevent or manage conflicts before they create problems for the participants and the University. When these guidelines are followed, it will help to ensure that approaches are consistent as the Board of Trustees, senior executive officers, faculty, staff, and other members of the Penn State community undertake their daily responsibilities. All members of the Penn State community are expected to be aware of policies and guidelines, to be accountable for their actions, and to continue their good-faith efforts to act responsibly and avoid conflicts and behaviors which may harm the reputation of this great University as well as the reputation of its individual members.
These policies and guidelines may be revised periodically over time as new legislation becomes effective and new potential conflicts arise. This website provides links to a wide array of useful resources. The "Quick Links" above provide easy access to various policies and guidelines.
Rodney A. Erickson
Penn State President